Fall Semester Coronavirus Update for Students - June 23, 2020
June 23, 2020
Preparations for Fall Semester 2020 are underway, with Westminster taking proactive steps to reduce the spread and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 during the academic year. The question, "Is it worth coming back to campus in the fall?" has been raised nationally at institutions of all sizes and types, with students looking for the high-quality learning community and rich student experiences for which Westminster is known.
Westminster's foundation as a comprehensive, liberal arts and residential institution, as well as our campus size, allows us to be nimbler and more responsive than many institutions. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Utah, President Dobkin has convened a weekly COVID-19 working group to address student experiences and college operations from a health and safety perspective, consistent with the guidance of state and local county health departments. The college recognizes that students want the traditional in-person Westminster experiences, and the college is working to reinforce these core experiences while aligning with health and safety protocols. Westminster's efforts include:
- Health and Safety Protocols are in place regarding face coverings, cleaning practices, and reporting procedures throughout campus. The college is currently exploring the implementation of symptom tracking for campus members.
- COVID-19 communication is centralized to the Coronavirus Resources webpage. This includes, but is not limited to, guidance for individuals coming to campus, campus services updates, and student resources.
- Academic experience: Faculty are working hard over the summer to adapt their courses to best ensure the safety of all. Student engagement, learning, health, and safety are top of mind. Classrooms will be set up for social distancing, with face masks required. Faculty will utilize a variety of technology tools to enhance student-student and student-faculty engagement and interaction.
- Student services and offices: Many services across the college have enhanced health and safety protocols, such as limiting office occupancy based on appropriate social distancing requirements. Services and offices are also reducing drop-in hours and encouraging appointments as the standard for individual, in-person, one-on-one meetings.
- Public spaces: Throughout the summer, the college is removing and/or replacing items that cannot be cleaned easily in highly utilized public spaces. Upon returning in the fall, students will see spaces upgraded, allowing for a more thorough cleaning regimen.
- Residential living: The Office of Residence Life has reduced the density of the residential halls and increased cleaning of all common spaces. Traditional-style double occupancy rooms are being converted to single occupancy rooms. There will be a strict no guest policy enforced this academic year.
- Food service operations: Bon Appétit will continue to provide food service, with take-out and dine-in options based on local health department guidance. Bon Appétit has also implemented guidelines regarding face coverings and social distancing for community members visiting Shaw and Griff's Roost.
Westminster's ability to create a safe and healthy campus will be a community effort. As such, there will be an expectation that our campus members comply with the college's COVID-19 guidance policy. Westminster encourages students to stay up-to-date on regular communication via the Coronavirus Resources webpage. If questions and concerns arise, please do not hesitate to reach out to the college via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that the college can direct your questions and concerns to the appropriate office.
Karnell McConnell-Black, Ed.D.
Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students